Software Quality Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 3–4, pp 689–734 | Cite as

Composing multiple variability artifacts to assemble coherent workflows

  • Mathieu Acher
  • Philippe Collet
  • Alban Gaignard
  • Philippe Lahire
  • Johan Montagnat
  • Robert B. France


The development of scientific workflows is evolving toward the systematic use of service-oriented architectures, enabling the composition of dedicated and highly parameterized software services into processing pipelines. Building consistent workflows then becomes a cumbersome and error-prone activity as users cannot manage such large-scale variability. This paper presents a rigorous and tooled approach in which techniques from Software Product Line (SPL) engineering are reused and extended to manage variability in service and workflow descriptions. Composition can be facilitated while ensuring consistency. Services are organized in a rich catalog which is organized as a SPL and structured according to the common and variable concerns captured for all services. By relying on sound merging techniques on the feature models that make up the catalog, reasoning about the compatibility between connected services is made possible. Moreover, an entire workflow is then seen as a multiple SPL (i.e., a composition of several SPLs). When services are configured within, the propagation of variability choices is then automated with appropriate techniques and the user is assisted in obtaining a consistent workflow. The approach proposed is completely supported by a combination of dedicated tools and languages. Illustrations and experimental validations are provided using medical imaging pipelines, which are representative of current scientific workflows in many domains.


Software product lines Feature models Scientific workflows Composition 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathieu Acher
    • 1
  • Philippe Collet
    • 1
  • Alban Gaignard
    • 1
  • Philippe Lahire
    • 1
  • Johan Montagnat
    • 1
  • Robert B. France
    • 2
  1. 1.I3S Laboratory (CNRS-UNSA), Les Algorithmes, Bât Euclide BSophia Antipolis CedexFrance
  2. 2.Computer Science DepartmentColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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